Following the recent ban on forex sales to Bureau de Change operators, the CBN has directed all commercial banks to set up teller points at designated locations and an alert system that will continuously update people of their foreign exchange movement.
The circular containing the new directive was issued on Wednesday and signed by Haruna Mustafa, the Director, Banking Supervision Department with the reference number: BSD/DIR/PUB/LAB/14/082.
The CBN, through Mustafa, warned that if documentation and all other requirements are satisfied duly, banks should ensure that no customer is turned back or refused foreign exchange.
It also discouraged undue delays, rationing and diversion of foreign exchange, adding that banks must establish electronic applications and alert systems to update customers on status of their foreign exchange requests.
“Undue delays rationing and/or diversion of FX is strongly discouraged whilst DMBS are required to establish electronic applications and alert systems to update customers on status of their FX requests”
As communicated through the directive, the CBN has set up toll-free lines for customers who have unresolved complaint relating to their forex requests, reassuring that it will continue to closely monitor banks’ conduct and compliance with the directive, warning that any breach of the directive will be severely sanctioned.
The directive read, “Further to the Monetary Policy Committees (MPC) briefing of July 27, 2021, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) are hereby reminded to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX requests for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Business Travel Allowance (BTA), tuition fees, Medical payments, SMEs transactions, amongst others”
“In this regard, DMBs are also required to adequately publicise the locations of the designated branches and make necessary arrangements to sell FX to customers in cash and or electronically in compliance with extant regulations.”
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday, while speaking on the decision to stop forex to the Bureau De Change Operators, said that the BDC operators have not reciprocated the gesture to help maintain price stability in the market since the CBN started selling forex to them.
According to him, “Given this rent seeking behaviour, it is not surprising that since the CBN began to sell forex to the BDCs, the number of operators has risen from mere 74 in 2005 to over 2,700 in 2016, and almost 5,500 BDCs as at today”
He went on to say that the CBN constantly receives an approximate of 5,000 new applications for BDC licences every month which triggers the question: “What is in this business that everybody must be in it?
”Due to this new policy, the naira has fallen by N20.00, exchanging for N525/$1 on Wednesday from N505/$1 on Tuesday.